This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
(Description nicked from Goodreads.com.)
“It’s all come down to this, following the discoveries made by Cormac in Low Midnight, Kitty and her allies are ready to strike. But, when their assassination attempt on the evil vampire Dux Bellorum fails, Kitty finds herself running out of time. The elusive vampire lord has begun his apocalyptic end game, and Kitty still doesn’t know where he will strike.
Meanwhile, pressure mounts in Denver as Kitty and her pack begin to experience the true reach of Dux Bellorum’s cult. Outnumbered and outgunned at every turn, the stakes have never been higher for Kitty. She will have to call on allies both old and new in order to save not just her family and friends, but the rest of the world as well.”
Warning: spoilers ahead.
How do you end a series that has gone on for several years and do justice to all that has gone before? It’s a pretty big task to wrap up more than a dozen books and bring events to a satisfying end. So, did Vaughn manage it? Well… not completely.
My main complaint with this book is that too much of the tension relies on Kitty, Ben and Cormac–but mostly Kitty–being stupid. Roman’s “end game” involves triggering a massive volcano using an ancient artifact. The gang runs around frantically trying to figure out where in the world is the volcano powerful enough to be the target of Roman’s plan. And yet with all the clues in front of them, knowing that Roman is in Colorado and came there specifically, it takes over half the book for Kitty to realize that Roman is going to trigger the Yellowstone caldera. I thought to myself “Maybe I’m just way too knowledgeable about stuff like this” and asked a couple of people I know to predict the volcano based on bare bones info that I gave them from the book. They figured it out immediately as well. The author even has Kitty thinking to herself that all the conspiracy theories about the supervolcano should have clued her in. It’s not good when an author has a character acknowledge that they’ve piddled away a good chunk of the novel.
My other complaint is that the science aspect of these books, which I enjoyed, goes mostly out the window. Yes, this series has magic. Yes, there are things that are supernatural. However, the earlier books in the series talk about scientists trying to understand the mechanisms that transmit vampirism and lycanthropy, and of course Kitty loves her research. If nothing else, even setting aside scientific concerns, the supernatural world is well defined and follows a steady trajectory. In this final book, suddenly, we have… angels? Demons? Heaven and Hell? Where were the hints of this in previous books?
Otherwise, there are all the aspects of a final book that you would expect. Characters from earlier books appear to aid Kitty and her allies. Kitty herself faces some of what she has been forced to give up as a werewolf. Much of her and Ben’s world is destroyed or seriously rocked. It’s fairly typical “let’s wrap this up” fare. It’s not terrible, by any means, but it also isn’t anything unique. I got more enjoyment from the previous book starring Cormac, because it had more original aspects.
Vaughn lets her characters go out on a positive note, and it’s nice to see Kitty and Ben getting a little peace and quiet after the ups and downs we’ve seen them go through. I may not have felt that this novel quite lived up to all that came before, but it is a solid enough ending.